L and Insurer [2011] AICmrCN 6 (22 December 2011): Determination regarding section 7B(5) of the Privacy Act.

March 14, 2012 |

In L and Insurer [2011] AICmrCN 6 the Privacy Commissioner considered the operation of section 7B(5) of the Privacy Act, which provides an exemption when acting under a State contract.

FACTS

The complainant lodged workers compensation claims with two current employers. The complainant alleged the insurer handling those claims disclosed details about a third, unrelated workers compensation claim against a previous employer to the solicitors handling the claims for the two current employers.

DECISION

The Commissioner conducted preliminary inquiries into the matter under section 42 of the Privacy Act.

The insurer handling the workers compensation claims was an appointed claims management agent for a state government corporation. The state government corporation was set up under an act of state parliament as the statutory authority responsible for the administration of workers rehabilitation and compensation legislation in the state. The corporation did not manage workers compensation claims itself, but used the insurer who was handling the complainant’s workers compensation claims, for that purpose.

The Commissioner considered that, as the appointed claims manager of a state government body, the insurer was a contracted service provider to a state government body and that  the insurer had handled the complainant’s personal information in relation to the two current workers compensation claims, for the purpose of directly or indirectly meeting its obligations as claims management agent for the state government corporation. Consequently, the Commissioner found the insurer’s actions were exempt under the Privacy Act and closed the complaint under section 41(1)(a) of the Privacy Act on the ground that the insurer had not interfered with the complainant’s privacy under the Privacy Act.

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